[There is] a long tradition of what I shall be calling Orientalism, a way of coming to terms with the Orient that is based on the Orient's special place in European Western experience. The Orient is not only adjacent to Europe; it is also the place of Europe's greatest and richest and oldest colonies, the source of its civilizations and languages, its cultural contestant, and one of the deepest and most recurring images of the Other. In addition, the Orient has helped to define Europe (or the West) as its contrasting image, idea, personality, experience. Yet none of tis Orient is merely imaginative. The Orient is an integral part of European material civilization and culture. Orientalism expresses and represents that part culturally and even ideologically as a mode of discourse with supporting institutions, vocabulary, scholarship, imagery, doctrines, even colonial bureaucracies and colonial styles.
Edward Said, Orientalism.
Of interest, perhaps, to those of you on the current blogsphere topic of representing 'the other'. Especially since, if you're white, you are always writing from the position of power, and always in the position of creating another form of Orientalism, if only through the misuse of your good intentions. So read, and be knowledgeable, as I am forced to be. It never feels as if I'm knowledgeable, though, and that must be said. So many books I just don't have time to read. So many thoughts never heard.
Lastly, to continue on the trend of public service announcements, Jeff VanderMeer is selling books. Indeed, he's giving stuff away with the books. You should see if you can get the City of Saints Fortune Cookies.